Lampang is one of 17 northern provinces which have been seriously affected by high levels of PM2.5 dust, due to the burning of farm waste and the lighting of forest fires by villagers in their hunt for wild animals or when picking wild mushrooms in the rainy season.
There is, however, a sub district in Wang Nua district, where the people have vowed not to light forest fires or to burn farm waste in open spaces to protect their own livelihoods raising lac insects (kerriidae).
They are afraid that fires and smoke will negatively impact the insects, whose products, namely resin, dye and wax, have been providing them with a livelihood for generations.
The villagers have been raising the insects on more than 8,700 rain trees in Wang Sai Kham sub-district to harvest their secretions, called lac, which earns a decent revenue for each family.
Traders visit their communities to buy raw lac for industrial use. It is reported that villagers in Wang Sai Kham sub-district who raise lac producing insects earn about 60 million baht each year from the sale of raw lac.
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